Spark:York received permission to operate for another three years

The STREET Spark: York dining venue has been granted planning permission to operate for another three years by a committee of council.

Most councilors agreed that the location of the shipping container has been positive for York, despite complaints from some nearby residents.

But Spark could be asked to leave as early as November 2023, as the Piccadilly site has been earmarked for affordable housing by York City Council.

Three people living next door to Spark spoke out in favor, but Ward Councilor Fiona Fitzpatrick represented residents who opposed the request but did not want to attend the meeting because “the relationship had broken down” with the administrators.

She said that Spark was “like Marmite in the city” and that while she liked the “buzz and vibrancy”, it was in the wrong place.

“It’s life cheek by jowl that is just plain inappropriate,” she added.

“Neighbors feel like they’ve taken too much for granted for too long and enough is enough.”

Co-director Sam Leach said Spark, a community benefit company, had housed 17 businesses that moved into permanent premises, supported 65 full-time jobs and boosted the local economy by £4million a year.

He admitted some residents would prefer Spark not to be there, but said others were regular customers.

“We try to bring something dynamic and positive here, but we accept that it is a coherent process of discussion with the residents to ensure that it can work for both of us,” he said. he declares.

“I don’t think it’s a fair representation that we’re throwing this party on Piccadilly when everyone’s in despair.”

Matthew Laverack, an architect, said extensions to Spark’s operation could continue indefinitely.

“It’s a hard-nosed business organization that wraps itself in a cloak of community interest,” he added.

Nigel Wilson, who moved to nearby Nelson’s Yard after visiting Spark, said: “My experience as a three-year-old neighbor has generally been very good. There have been occasions where loud noise from sporting events has caused a nuisance, but these are really the exceptions rather than the norm.

A condition agreed by the advisers means that Spark will have to extinguish the music at 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday.

Cllr Janet Looker said: “It has certainly made a big difference to Piccadilly, which until relatively recently was a street disaster.”

But she added: “I think the residents are accountable and deserve some certainty about what will happen to the site and when it will happen.”

Spark’s new planning permission means it can operate until September 2025, but a separate tenancy agreement with the council has seen them agree to move before then if a developer is ready to start work on the site.

Mr Leach said: “We are now working towards a final end date for the project and I think we will focus on the next steps, hopefully at another site in York if that is what the public wants. “